DEWALT D25603K 1-3/4″ SDS Max Rotary Hammer Review

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DEWALT D25603K 1-3/4″ SDS Max Combination Hammer

DEWALT D25604K 1-3/4" SDS Max Rotary Hammer

Manufacturer: DEWALT
Model number: D25603K
Price: N/A
Power source: Corded
Motor size: 13.5 amp
Weight: 15.2 lbs
We had the opportunity to put the DEWALT D25603K 1-3/4″ SDS Max Rotary Hammer, their newest rotary hammer, through some field testing.  The testing was part of our  Best SDS Max Rotary Hammer Drill – Head to Head article.

The new DEWALT D25603K was designed for both residential and commercial construction, remodeling, and demolition.  This tool includes many of the features found on the latest generation of rotary hammers.

DEWALT D25603K Features and Specifications

  • SHOCKS – Active Vibration Control® Reduces vibration felt by the user at the handles. A Perform and Protect feature.
  • 2-Stage & E-Clutch provide maximum control in bind up situations. A Perform and Protect feature.
  • 8.0 Joules of impact energy provides fast drilling and powerful chipping
  • 13.5 Amp high-performance motor provides high performance & overload protection
  • Electronic Variable Speed Dial allows the user to control the the speed of drilling or chipping while maintaining speed under load
  • Rear handle mount increases user comfort in down-drilling applications
  • Optimal Concrete Drilling: 1/2″ to 1-3/8″
  • Vibration Measurement: 9.1 m/s2
  • No Load Speed: 210-415 rpm
  • Blows/Min: 1,430 to 2,840 bpm
  • 2 Year Free Service Contract
  • 3 Year Limited Warranty
  • 90 Day Money Back Guarantee

DEWALT D25603K Out of the box

The DEWALT D25603K weighs 15.2 pounds with a 13.5 amp motor that delivers a reported 8.0 joules of impact energy.  This hammer has a decent amount of rubber over-mold on the handle to facilitate an ergonomic grip. The D-handle is comfortable and large allowing the user to shift hand positions during extended use.

Black rubber bellows between the D-handle and motor housing conceal and protect the vibration isolating mechanism. The side handle is seven inches long, allowing for many hand positions as well as more control and leverage during drilling and chipping applications.

The DEWALT also features two secondary threaded locations for side handle placement near the D-handle on either side of the tool, making this tool very lefty friendly. These secondary threaded holes are a unique feature that make using this tool for chipping and drilling on concrete floors and footings much easier.

DEWALT also uses a twist-collar for tightening the side handle clamp. This allows the clamp to remain on the front of the tool with the side handle removed or in one of the secondary side handle positions. This means that when switching between horizontal and vertical surface drilling or chipping you won’t have to go through the hassle of removing the side handle clamp.

The power cord is high quality, flexible and measures 8′ 6″ long. I’d prefer to see a 16′ cord on a rotary hammer to minimize the use of extension cords on the job-site.

The tool case is cast of hard plastic and is roomy enough for a selection of solid bits and chisels, and doesn’t require a lot of work to get the tool and cord into it.  However, you will need to find another carrying and storage option for large coring bits.   The case is well constructed and features a durable continuous hinge, commonly called a piano hinge.

A large, and easy to operate dial on the top of the tool adjusts the 3 main settings:

  1. Drilling
  2. Chipping
  3. Bit rotation (for changing the orientation of chisels)

There’s a variable speed dial on the back of the motor housing, and a lock-on switch just under the trigger, and finally there’s a switch for setting the clutch at low and high ranges, depending on bit size being used. Another handy feature are LED indicator lights that notify the user of lock-on and when the carbon brushes need service.

I found the DEWALT D25603K durable and well made. Fit and finish on this tool is excellent and all the adjustments have a precise, tight feel with no slop.

SDS Rotary Hammer Drill Head to Head 5

DEWALT D25603K In Use

To test the D25603K we used old concrete bridge deck sections that were salvaged from a project. The bridge decks were 10″ thick reinforced concrete. While we did not test the strength of the concrete it was estimated to be at least 6,000 psi and heavily reinforced with rebar mats on the top and bottom.

We found the DEWALT D25603K to be powerful and effective in chipping and drilling applications, it held it’s own in comparison testing and we categorized it as a very durable and solid tool.

These additional side handle positions were very helpful during our drill testing.  As any trades person knows the last thing you want is a tool that is going to put additional strain on your back.  I’m 6’ 2” and all too familiar with tools that force you into uncomfortable, hunched positions.  The DEWALT is great in this regard, with the additional handle positions allowing a much more comfortable,  upright posture, and ultimately more control of the tool.

SDS Rotary Hammer Drill Head to Head 23

Optional Accessories

Dust extraction is a big focus on the job-site today. Dust creates a hazard for clients, tradespeople, and for sensitive equipment. So keeping harmful airborne dust to a minimum is worthwhile. DEWALT offers some great accessories for extracting dust at the tool, before it gets a chance to contaminate the air. We tested the DWH050K large hammer dust extraction and hole cleaning kit along with the DWV012 while drilling and found their performance to be fantastic.

DEWALT DWH050K Large Hammer Drilling Dust Extraction System

The DWH050K large hammer dust extraction and hole cleaning kit is a welcome addition for drilling holes up to 2″.  It’s a simple and effective kit to use and unlike many of the competitors it allows the user to see the hole being drilled. The base has a tough rubber seal that allows for adhesion on most masonry surfaces.

Two interchangeable dust collection heads allow for effective dust removal at varying hole size, one for holes up to 1-1/2-Inch and one for holes up to 2-Inch. The kit includes dust extractor body, 1-1/2-Inch Drilling Head, 2-Inch Hole Drilling Head, 5/16-Inch Hole Cleaning Nozzle, and 9/16-Inch Hole Cleaning Nozzle after drilling for easier anchor setting.    We liked this set up, especially since it eliminates the need to blow concrete dust out of the hole with an air gun.

DEWALT DWH053K Large Hammer Chipping Dust Extraction System

DEWALT also offers a chiseling kit that attaches to the tool and allows for dust extraction while breaking and chiseling.  The shroud attachment is compatible with all DEWALT SDS Max and hex combo hammers and breakers.   It comes with three different dust boots which allows the user to match the boot length to the chisel.

We did not test this accessory so we can not comment on it’s effectiveness.

DEWALT DWV012 10-Gallon Dust Extractor with Automatic Filter Cleaning

To use the above dust collection accessories you need a dust extractor.

The DEWALT DWV012 Dust Extractor weights only 33.5 pounds, has a 15-amp motor and delivers up to 140 CFM of airflow.  It has a high-quality HEPA filter, and is a fully featured dust extractor with:

  • Automatic filter cleaning
  • Automatic power tool actuation
  • Variable suction, and when used with the included HEPA filter it meets RRP guidelines for lead removal.

I personally own one of these vacuums and like it’s durability, powerful suction, portability, and ease of use a lot.

The DEWALT DWV012 is a good mid-sized dust extractor that you can use for wet or dry clean-up, and dust extraction with appropriate attachments for tools.

One of the best features of the DWV012 is the automatic filter cleaning.  This dust extractor has an automatic filter clean function that pulses every 30 seconds to keep fine dust and debris from caking on the filter and effecting efficiency.   It also saves the operator from having to  manually clean the filter.

There is one-switch operation to select vacuum only or tool actuation when paired with a power tool, is effective, efficient.

The multiple handles and tie down points make it easy to move around, although all the protruding handles make for a slightly bigger footprint. The smaller front casters lock to prevent accidental movement and the large rear wheels are rubberized making for smoother rolling over rough surfaces. The main handle telescopes for easier storage and transportation.

Room for Improvement?

  • This D25603K combination hammer is a durable, solid tool with some great features, I’d like to see a longer cord, and faster drilling and more powerful chipping mode. 
  • The DWH050K Large Hammer Drilling Dust Extraction System works great on smooth concrete but loses holding suction on uneven surfaces. A mechanism to hold the dust extraction more firmly on rougher surfaces or an option for drill mounting would be a nice improvement.

Overall Impression – DEWALT D25603K

Between the weight, height, and secondary side handle positions, the DEWALT D25603K hammer would be my first choice for drilling even a small number of holes in concrete slabs for fasteners or anchors.

The DEWALT D25603K is fantastic in terms of ergonomics, user comfort and safety.  The available dust extractor and collection accessories were effective at minimizing airborne dust during drilling and still allow visibility of the drill bit. We found their performance outstanding.

Tool purchases are always a matter of priorities, if your priority is comfort and safety, the DEWALT D25603K should be on your short list for SDS Max combination hammers.

This rotary hammer will be available in June 2014.

About the author

Ethan Bickford

Ethan Bickford has a long history with carpentry. His father worked as a contractor for many years and taught him the ins and outs of home repair and remodeling from a very young age. He now works as a carpenter in the Boston area. Ethan loves teaching and advising on tools and techniques and is a big fan of quality workmanship. His motto is: “Do it right the first time!”

All posts by Ethan »


  1. […] DEWALT D25603K Read our full review here: DEWALT D35603K Hammer Review […]

  2. Eliud

    Hello, am Eliud and am a plumber. My job sometimes requires me to drill through and many at times break hard Rock and concrete. Am writing to enquire the price and mode of purches and transport. Am in Nairobi-Kenya

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